In the late 1990's a little known painting restorer at the National Gallery of Ireland recognized a long lost Caravaggio painting called The Taking of Christ while in the living quarters of Jesuit Priests. He had been called in to clean and restore several paintings, none of which were thought to be of much value. Attributed to another artist and the value not known, the painting had hung in the priest's dining room where it became covered in grime, tobacco smoke, and coal smoke.
The Lost Painting by Jonathon Harr reads like a historical novel, knowing it is non-fiction only makes it more interesting. Harr intertwines the true stories of the young students in Italy that discover documents that eventually help to establish its provenance, the Caravaggio experts that argue over the authenticity of paintings, and the restorer who works to establish Caravaggio as the artist and restore the painting. I also learned about Caravaggio along the way.
I do think that there was a little too much about the young women students, their personal lives, and too little about Caravaggio himself. However, I enjoyed this read.